OT and PT put the FUN in FUNCTIONAL!

April 03, 2020

4.3.2020 Happy OT MONTH!

We are proud of our Occupational Therapists, and happy to celebrate OT month at Crossroads, albeit remotely. They have come up with a whole week of OT activities to do at home, starting Monday, April 6th. There is a printable version at the bottom of the page, so scroll down and enjoy!


O.T. Week of April 6th– April 10th 

By Morgan Sylvester, O.T.

Motor Monday

It’s the beginning of the week, time to start off OT week with Motor Monday! Today is all about fine motor activities.

What are fine motor skills? Fine motor skills refer to your child’s ability grasp and manipulate objects with age appropriate grasping pattern. Without exposure to manipulating and grasping materials your child does not work on improving the strength of the small muscles in their hand (often we refer to as distal hand strength).

This website is a great resource on ideas to add some fine motor activities into your day today!


Tactile Tuesday

Happy Tactile Tuesday! Today we are talking about the tactile system. The tactile system is only one component of our sensory system and it plays a very important role; as it is our sense of touch and how our sensory system processes this sense to our brain.

When we touch something it sends this information to our brain to identify the texture, temperature, pain, etc. Today we are only focusing on the textures!

This video highlights great ideas of making your own sensory bins at home with household materials and other ways to explore tactile play.


Wardrobe Wednesday

It’s the half way point of the week and we are talking about your child’s wardrobe, in particular fasteners!

In OT, fasteners are often targeted as they increase your child’s independence with dressing. If they are able to complete buttons, zippers, snaps and velcro; they will be more independent and feel confident!

If your child is not ready for fasteners, there are great ways they can work on pre-fasteners skills. These resources provide information on how to assist your child with fasteners and if they aren’t ready activities you can work as prerequisite skills.



Two-Hands Thursday

Thursday, it’s almost Friday! Today, we are talking about the importance of using two hands together. Often your OT will call this “bilateral hand skills.” Our bilateral hand skills are very important to develop as we can use two hands together in midline (in front of us). You can incorporate this often if your child is helping you fold laundry, gathering materials to play, playing with toys, stabilize paper as they write on paper, or cutting with scissors. Your child might do this already and you may not have noticed!

Why is it so important? When your child is able to use their hands together at the same time it indicates that both sides of the brain are sharing information to each other effectively.

Here are a few websites that offer printables to work on precutting skills and cutting simple shapes.



Finger-Isolation Friday

Happy Friday! Today we are targeting isolating our finger movements. By improving fine motor dexterity through isolating finger movements your child will develop more refined fine motor manipulation skills.

This website is a wonderful resource to explain the importance of dexterity in your child’s development.


That’s the end of our OT week!

Click this link for a printable document:  OT WEEK 

4.1.2020 OT MONTH

Ms. Morgan has planned some awesome activities to celebrate OT MONTH. Watch for her daily updates starting next Monday! Click below to see her opening message:

Start of OT week (1)


Ms. Morgan, Occupational Therapist has shared a new resource for learning at home! See what she has to say about this set of activities, below.

“I found this resource online that I wanted to share. It’s great for all parents to view and gain a better understanding on a child developing a hand preference and outlines great activities to do at home. I thought this resource would be beneficial for our younger students whether or not they receive services or not. It’s a great resource for positioning of materials and outline of activities to do at home.




Now in our 2nd week of school closure due to COID-19, our dedicated therapists and teachers continue to create materials and locate resources that families can do at home. This one is from Ms. Alissa, one of our fantastic Occupational Therapists. All you need is the front of a cereal box and scissors.

She writes, “Here’s a simple activity parents can do at home. It can address scissor skills as well as visual perceptual skills. You can cut the box into a number of pieces, whatever is appropriate for the student at this time and after put it back together like a puzzle!



Occupational Therapy Home Activities

Our second list of resources is shared by our Occupational Therapy department, who has created a list each for school-aged students and preschool students.  

Thanks to Morgan and Alissa for their efforts with putting this together: Print it out, below. 

Occupational Therapy School Age Home Activities    Preschool Based Home Activities


Physical Therapy Home Activities

This week, while children are at home, may be difficult for our families, as well as students. We are going to be providing some links from therapists and teachers to try to help keep routines and skills in practice. These resources will also be listed on our PARENT RESOURCES page, all in one place. 

Thanks to Mr. Joe, our PhysicalTherapist, for putting this list together. Print it out, below. 

“The purpose is to provide parents with some ideas that target gross motor activities that we work on in PT, but could benefit all our kids.” Mr. Joe, P.T.

Gross Motor Activities during break

3.3.2020 Growing Strong!

Mr. Joe helps students with a great number of gross motor skills in his Physical Therapy sessions. This little guy has been working hard with Mr. Joe and is building strength every day. Sitting on a large therapy ball that Joe moves left and right helps “T” develop balance and core strength, as well as desensitization of the feeling of having feet off the floor. Crawling with tunnels and mats fosters overall strength and hand-eye coordination. “T” has also gotten great at running, and the large space fosters motivation to follow Joe to the far side of the room.

It’s awesome to see students making great progress. Hard work pays off! Especially when you have a wonderful therapist such as Mr. Joe!

1.31.2020 Beading for Fine Motor Skills Development.

It’s no surprise that Occupational Therapy sessions tackle a multitude of skills. What is amazing is how many creative activities the therapists in this department implement to help their students with the very skills needed. This activity, for instance. It’s super simple and absolutely fun, yet it’s exercising the little muscles and movements of the hand and fingers. Picking up the tiny pony beads, placing them on the pipe cleaner, just so, holding the pipe cleaner tightly with the other hand, and not letting the beads already in place fall off… This youngster’s hands are building strength that will help with even harder skills that will follow, such as buttoning and unbuttoning clothing, holding utensils and writing instruments, grasping food items for self-feeding.

We’re so proud of Q’s hard work and of the Occupational Therapists (OTs) for their special work with the children!

11.18.19 STAIRS Super Star!

Check out this sweet young lady mastering the stairs!


Watch an adorable video!

10.29.19 GREAT CATCH!

If you ever get a chance to watch Mr. Joe when he’s working with students, one thing you’ll notice right away is that he really gets into it! His teaching of catch feels like a real game of catch, and the children he works with have a blast. This little guy caught the ball and threw it back, something that’s not so easy to learn. Practice makes perfect and perfect takes practice, as they say, and this student is really catching on to the skill of CATCH!


10.18.19 Connecting is cool!

The game Connect 4 helps with so many cool OT skills! That’s why Ms. Alissa uses the game with her students. “J” is very engaged and interested in the task of picking up the circular pieces and putting them into the slot. There are visual-motor skills, fine motor skills, and planning skills too.


10.8.19 Working on hand strength is oh so much fun!

This is a super fun activity for students who need to develop some fine motor strength!

Ms. Morgan has “hidden” some fun toys inside of a clump of theraputty. “T” is having a great time working the putty to discover the toys, and his fingers are getting some nice exercise.

Tip: If you don’t have theraputty, you can also use playdoh! Visit our Pinterest page if you want to try making your own!

8.1.19 Scribble Monsters

Scribbling is a crucial part of the process of learning handwriting skills, and for our kids here at Crossroads, scribbling is significant to the process of learning about written communication to others too.

When our OT’s introduce the process of handwriting, the very first step is making a mark on the paper. The mark will become a line, a line a scribble, a scribble a shape, a shape a letter and number.

Sometimes students don’t have an intrinsic interest in making that first mark, and sometimes students are past that step. Sometimes students are making lines and need some help with formation, and others are working on turning letters into names and words… everyone is an individual here. Whatever the case, making scribbles is a huge part of the process, and our OT’s turn up the fun factor to motivate their students to want to work on handwriting skills.

Here are some of their recently made “Scribble Monsters,” to share with you!



Buttoning skills! Check out the wonderful focus and attention on this challenging task by “L,” one of our school aged students. She is working so hard! Ms. Gretchen, her Occupational Therapist, is a great teacher, having her keep trying and giving her guidance when the button just doesn’t seem to want to go through. The happy look of pride on her face when she succeeds is priceless.

5.31.2019 Update Occupational Therapy:

Check out these cutting edge SCISSOR SKILLS!

While Ms. Caitlin works with one youngster, Ms. Gretchen works with another. Amongst many other skills, both children are learning to use scissors correctly.

The look of sheer concentration on this little guy’s face says it all!

So does the look of pride at achieving what he set out to do!

Cutting task complete, this game helps to strengthen pincer grasp while simultaneously encouraging fun interaction between therapist and student, as well as  developing strategic thinking.

Meanwhile our friends at the other table move on to the beloved etch-a-sketch, which improves writing and drawing skills and is fun to erase when done.

Whatever they’re doing in O.T., the work is fun and rewarding to the students.

4.5.2019  Update  Physical Therapy:

Mr. Joe works on a huge variety of skills. Here one of his students is doing a great job holding on during his bouncing and balancing activities!

That’s a challenging but important skill for safety! Great job, Joe and M!

 Update: 3.29.2019

Occupational Therapy:

Ms. Gretchen and one of her students have been doing a great deal of food preparation and cooking this year. Here they are making dirt cups to welcome in the spring! The special snack will be shared with classmates later. YUM!

3.2019: Occupational Therapy

Ms. Caitlin and C are sharing a sense of humor this morning as they get ready to get down to their work! Thanks for the SMILES!


Great job walking! Mr. Joe is an amazing coach! This is hard work and this young guy is up to the task. Very motivated and happy to do the work with Mr. Joe.


Our Physical Therapist, Mr. Joe, and our Occupational Therapists, Ms. Caitlin and Ms. Gretchen are super busy and exquisitely fun.

Take a quick glimpse into the therapy room which, at Crossroads, is shared by the Occupational Therapy (O.T.) and Physical Therapy (P.T.) departments. This will give you some ideas of the types of skills that our students are making progress with here recently!

Occupational Therapy:

One area that is often targeted for O.T. is handwriting. Handwriting isn’t a simple skill to master by any means and for some students. Prerequisite skills need to be achieved first. These can include skills such as achieving a pincer grasp, holding a utensil, and making a simple mark on a piece of paper.

When a child is able to make controlled marks, such as side to side or top to bottom, then they can move on to other types of marks. Straight and curved lines, circle-like shapes, squares and triangles, and eventually letters and numbers, are later put together to form words and phrases and sentences.

You’ll find the O.T.’s using everything from cheerios to silly balls to give their students practice picking up small items with fingers and utensils. So many fine motor skills are put to work in an O.T. session!

Physical Therapy:

On the other side of the room, Physical Therapy works to improve gross motor skills. One of the important areas often addressed in Physical Therapy (P.T.) here is mastering the stairs. Taking one stair at a time, putting one foot up, pulling one’s own weight up with the second step, going up, going down, use of a handrail…. there are so many pieces of the full picture involved in using stairs. It’s a pretty important activity to be able to do safely and Mr. Joe makes sure that the students work hard on it!

 In these pictures you can also see positive reinforcement. The therapists make the activities themselves very fun and reinforcing, and following successful work, they give their student an opportunity for a fun activity which is picked ahead of time by the child. You’ll probably see that the reinforcer activities are activities which are also benefiting the child, such as the balance ball, the bouncing ball, and enthusiastic praise from the therapist.


Just some of the ways that O.T. and P.T. are putting the FUN in the important functional skills that they teach each day at Crossroads Center for Children!

Aug 2, 2017 Making Great Marks in OT

Lines are what make up letters and numbers when we write.

And a line starts with a mark.

Many of the students at Crossroads are learning to draw lines, shapes, letters and numbers. Here two students work on such skills.

Our Occupational Therapists are experts at helping them.

Sometimes, initially, hand-over-hand assistance is needed, and that prompting can be faded out over time until the child is able demonstrate the skill more independently.

It’s always wonderful to watch the development of a child’s skills. Our students work harder than many people, and it’s so exciting to see them make gains.

Want to help us help the kids? Please go to https://www.givegab.com/nonprofits/crossroads-center-for-children and donate today.

2016: Jump! Hop! Skip! Cut! Color! Tie! Do you remember when you took your first step? Probably not! How about when you first pincer-grasped a cheerio to pop into your mouth? No? That’s because most of us were too young to hold those memories. Most people pick up these types of developmental skills early in life, too early for us to recall.

But here at Crossroads, many of our kids have delays in developmental skills. They need a little extra help to acquire them. A little encouragement, some extra practice, and voila, before you know it, those skills are solid!

That’s what you’ll notice if you spend any time at all in our Occupational Therapy / Physical Therapy room. The crew works with kids throughout the building who have needs for their services in accordance with each students’ IEP (individualized education plan). So while “L” is mastering drawing a shape, “E” is tackling jumping forward. While “T” is getting becoming a whiz with zipping and unzipping a front-zipping garment, “M” is donning and doffing his own sneakers and socks with speed and precision. So much going on! So many gains!

In one corner, the Occupational Therapist, (O.T.) is working on self care skills with a little guy who works hard and earns the swing, his favorite positive reinforcer. He’s not alone! The swing is one of the awesome things about working hard in OT/PT! Just about everyone works hard when they know there’s this cherished prize after! In another area of the room, another student works hard at copying a square that the Occupational Therapist, (O.T.) models.

Another student later in the day works a batch of putty to discover several small gems inside, something the O.T. created to help him increase his fine motor strength. He pulls out a small pink bead with delight, holding it up to share his prize.

And there’s also the student who is making excellent gains with drawing requested shapes. First comes a vertical line, then horizontal. Next there’s a cross and then a circle. A square and then a triangle. The student has come far! This O.T. says the steps of each shape she requests as she is setting up the model, and the child repeats them, guiding herself with increased finesse.

All the time, on the other side of the room, Joe, the Physical Therapist (P.T.) here at Crossroads, works on gross motor skills. The important skills to him are those that build balance, strength and endurance and his favorite skill to teach is using stairs, since it is so functional and life long. He relishes seeing the kids pick up the skill sometimes slowly at first but then boundless in their growth.

Building core strength, balance and stability is important to all of a kid’s gross body movements, and Joe’s ways of getting his students to meet goals are ingenious and fun.

With Joe, students also practice skills such as catching and throwing, walking and running, jumping and hopping. Being rolled on a balance ball and sitting up on it is like a fun ride for “E” as she builds core strength and balance. Catching a ball is a fun game for “T” as she increases hand-eye coordination and aim. Jumping on a trampoline is a blast and a half for “L” as he builds lower body strength and moving balance. Climbing up a matte is a cool thing to do to get to a toy on the windowsill, as “E” and “J” build uphill inclined mobile strength and endurance.

Gains and growth are observed as a child performs a skill – growth which is documented in data collection, and graphed to be analyzed for changes to the way the goal is run. That is the crux of all programming at Crossroads – an applied behavior analysis school – and is evident as these therapists take data in the students’ binders and clipboards where steps and sets sheets are prepared ahead of time and followed not only in the therapy room but across the rest of the students’ programs as well. For example, a child might work on doffing at bathroom time with his classroom team, when it is a natural time to utilize that skill – our systems allow the classroom to prompt or assist the child in the same way that his OT has instructed; consistency leads to better success, and chances for generalization to new environments.

Our students love going to OT and PT and make excellent gains because of our phenomenal therapists. Thank you for all of your work and devotion to the children of Crossroads Center for Children.

Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag ProgramCOVID-19 Update